There are so many different methods that can be used to train employees that it is not always easy to choose the most appropriate one. If you are responsible for training one or more employees, there are a number of factors you should consider. The first is the objective of the training. If you are aiming to give some people specific new skills, for example, you would use a different method from that used to improve workplace behaviour generally. You should also think about who is being trained, and how much budget and time you have at your disposal.
On-the-job training involves being taught, usually by an internal manager, while the employee is at work and actually doing a job. The training can feature demonstrations and instruction as well as more enabling, coaching techniques. The most obvious advantage of on-the-job training is that it is cost-effective. You are not paying the trainer any extra, and employees become productive very quickly as they are learning whilst doing. However, the quality of the training does depend on the ability of the trainer and the amount of time he has available. There is also the possibility that bad habits may be passed on.
External training can cover everything from short, one-day training courses offered by commercial trainers to sponsoring the employee to study for a graduate degree at the local university. External training allows employees to gain a wider range of skills or qualifications than can usually be obtained in-house. However, it is expensive, as you will have to pay transport and accommodation costs as well as the fees for the actual training. The employee will also lose working time and potential productivity during the training.
Licences for a wide variety of computer-based and online training courses are relatively cheap. Their flexibility means that people can choose to work at their own pace and not necessarily during office hours, so you don't have to lose productivity. However, online training is not suitable for all subjects, nor does it suit every learning style. Some trainees miss the energy and social environment of classroom-style training.
An ideal solution is to devise a training programme that incorporates elements of coaching, off-site courses and some computer-based elements. The different elements are adapted to reflect the subject-matter being taught and the individual learning styles of the employees. Undoubtedly, this is an expensive and time-consuming process. But it could be argued that, in the long run, it will save you both time and money. Employees are much more likely to retain knowledge if they are trained in ways that suit them. Both you and the employees will benefit from their enhanced skills.
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